Though Fushimi Modern Japanese Cuisine & Lounge's menu and daily specials board boast French-inspired fusion food, its sushi is deeply rooted in tradition–and this combination has earned its dishes Zagat ratings and a Michelin recommendation. Chefs may reinterpret the presentation of Japanese staples—such as the tuna sashimi, which they set on broad leaves next to bean-sprout-entangled roe—but they still stay true to traditional flavors. By contrast, cooked fusion entrees tend to incorporate the unconventional, such as the tuna burger with spicy aioli, available on the weekend brunch menu, and the mushroom risotto made with black rice (a dish praised by New York Magazine in their critics' pick review.)
At all locations, the decor also melds old and new. At the bar at the Staten Island location, crimson light filters through a canopy of metallic foliage, casting a moody aura across Buddhist statuettes imported from Asia. The neon-lit Williamsburg location has a sleeker feel, its booths nestled in large circular openings that bring to mind subway tunnels or the oversized portholes of Paul Bunyan's mythical submarine. In Bay Ridge, the stateliness of traditional chandeliers contrasts with the bold colors of wall-sized photographs.
In a dining room the 2010 Michelin guide described as "a fresh, modern interior soaked in beautiful, natural light," according to their website, servers at Indian Clove deliver a diverse roster of Indo-Chinese dishes. As patrons sip salted, spiced lassi, daily lunch buffets heap plates with both vegetarian and nonvegetarian entrees. Grilled-chicken tikka and lobster cook inside the traditional clay oven known as a tandoor as chefs with a "serious talent for Indian fare," according to Michelin, prepare classics such as samosas and lamb vindaloo. Drinks and live DJs complement these classic flavors in the bar and lounge, where hanging orange lamps sprout from carefully watered light bulbs to illuminate cocktails.
Goodfella’s LES dishes a menu of oversized pasta selections and piles high-quality ingredients atop the eatery’s signature semolina pizza dough. Adhering to recipes that earned the restaurant accolades from the International Pizza Expo for World’s Best Pizza in 2007, World’s Best Non-Traditional Pizza in 2009, and Roundest Crust in a Supporting Role, Goodfella’s chefs use a brick oven to bake a dozen specialty pies adorned with such toppings as san marzano tomatoes, wood-fire-roasted peppers, and lemon-garlic chicken. For crust-free fare, diners nosh on cooked-to-order pasta selections, such as the rigatoni alla vodka, or sink teeth into a succulent brick-oven steak or grilled Norwegian salmon served with sautéed spinach and roasted potatoes.
Drawing on his experience as chef and owner of Aesop's Table, executive chef Dominick Rappa constantly updates the menu of seasonally inspired fare at Rick's Cafe. Waiters serve wine and cocktails to pair with dishes topped with such toothsome curiosities as truffle porcini cream, chipotle ketchup, and marrownaise. Inspired by the character Rick Blaine from Casablanca, owner Joseph Aliotta steeps Rick's Cafe in a classic ambience set to big-band music—the building itself dates back from the Prohibition era, having sprouted from a single cluster of hops. Drinking glasses refract light onto an antique mahogany bar in front of an exposed brick wall. A fireplace illuminates cherry hardwood floors in the dining room, and a private outdoor patio hosts alfresco dining.
The flickering fireplace in the dining room of Pepper Jack Grill casts a warm glow over the bilevel booths and pale-yellow walls adorned with local artwork. In the kitchen, chefs grill rib eye steaks alongside Angus beef and turkey-burger patties for patrons to customize with toppings from the burger bar such as apricot-chipotle barbecue sauce and handcut bacon. Pintsize chandeliers light the full half-moon-shape bar, where bartenders pour signature sangria, shakertinis, and goblets of black-cherry-bourbon sours. Live entertainment tickles the ears of diners while they watch sports games on flat-screen televisions or meander toward the outdoor patio lounge to shush overhead stars.
The chefs at Mojito Grill immerse the intimate dining area with the savory scents of classic Cuban fare. Employing a decades-old cooking method, they use traditional la caja china roasting boxes to prepare hearty cuts of pork, steak, poultry, and fish. These special ovens heat to extreme temperatures, but keep the flames from ever touching the succulent slabs. This seals in flavor and juices while creating a crispy exterior. Marinated churrasco skirt steak, grilled wild salmon in a guava glaze, and roasted pork highlight the menu alongside traditional Cuban sandwiches. Delectable flavors can be relished with a Cuban coffee and bookended by a Cuban flan.